A drive to re-open a public golf course is picking up steam due to overwhelming demand at the city’s only remaining facility.
Since the green at Caird Park was re-opened after lockdown was lifted golfers have flocked to enjoy the open-air sport.
However, with the controversial closure of Camperdown Course earlier this year, Caird Park is reportedly struggling to cope with the demand.
Now local golfers, backed by Labour councillor Kevin Keenan, have launched an appeal to re-open the course claiming it is “almost impossible” to get a booking at Caird Park.
‘It’s almost impossible to book a tee time at the course just now’
Tom Alexander, a lifelong member of Caird Park Golf Club, said he wholeheartedly supported the move.
Tom, 75, from Fintry, who has played at the course for more than 60 years said: “It’s almost impossible to book a tee time at the course just now.
“A combination of a massive demand, as well as the current booking system, are making it very difficult for golfers to get a game.
“If Camperdown was re-opened that would take an enormous amount of pressure of Caird Park and allow everyone that wanted a game to be able to book a tee time.”
‘After the course closed many of our golfers just stopped golfing’
The club’s former captain Ian Mcalindon said he welcomed Mr Keenan’s efforts.
He said: “This would be fantastic if this could happen. I can’t see the club getting going again but if the course could be re-opened that would be fantastic for the people of Dundee.
“After the course closed many of our regular golfers just stopped golfing.
“If they could back on the course it would be fantastic. Even from a social point of view it would get people back out for exercise and also get small groups of people back together.”
‘At present the demand for golf tee times far outweighs the supply’
Mr Keenan has written to the city council’s chief executive, David Martin and to Judy Dobbie, acting director of Leisure and Culture Dundee, to look at the costs of reinstating the golf course at Camperdown.
In his letter he stated: “In trying to address a constituent matter, I was advised how popular golf at Caird Park has been as it was initially the only sport allowed to return as Covid-19 restrictions were reduced.
“There are currently over 1,000 members and there have been over 28,000 rounds played at Caird Park since June 1.
“At present the demand for golf tee times at Caird Park far outweighs the supply, with 98% of 18 hole tee times booked out every day.
“Given this, we should consider reinstating golf provision at Camperdown Park as sport and exercise are bound to have a positive effect on health and wellbeing of those who participate.”
Mr Keenan also claimed there were a number of golfers who had signed up to clubs outside of the city when Camperdown closed, who may be restricted from travelling outside of Dundee.
“While it’s recommended not to travel, it’s not yet legislation. However the Scottish Government are considering bringing forward legislation that will prevent travel.
“It therefore isn’t a great idea to have golfers travelling out and about for a round of golf.”
A spokeswoman for Dundee City Council said: ”
A Dundee City Council Spokesperson said: “The City Council took a decision last year to cease the provision of golf at Camperdown Park, after consultation with Leisure and Culture Dundee and other stakeholders, and instead to concentrate municipal golf activity at Caird Park.
“The financial challenges facing the council have significantly increased as a result of the Covid-19 emergency and our priority at this stage is to work with partners and citizen to mitigate the impact of the pandemic in the city.
“We continue to consider options for the repurposing of the Camperdown site and will bring forward proposals for this in due course.”
‘A very sad day for the people of Dundee’
The decision to close Camperdown passed by a single motion passed at a meeting of the council in August 2019.
It marked a sad end for the green after 60 years, and despite the best efforts of members to get the council to change its mind.
A report had said dwindling membership meant keeping the course open was no longer sustainable.
Despite the decision, the council maintained it was open to reversing the vote if a suitable financial package was tabled.
However a plan, spearheaded by Mr McAlindon failed at the last hurdle and the course was shut for good in April.
A 10-year lease had been all but agreed, however a sudden illness is believed to have prevented the button from being pressed on the deal.
John Alexander said had read comments online, but said there was no truth whatsoever in the claims.
“Yes, I can absolutely deny that, it’s garbage, and you can quote me on that,” the Strathmartine councillor said.
“The reality is, the closure of Camperdown Park Golf Course was a really difficult decision, but it was taken on, I think, very legitimate grounds.